PETA Mad Over City Proposal to Prop Up Illegal Petting Zoo

For Immediate Release:
January 17, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Stonecrest, Ga.

Ahead of the city council’s vote on a proposed amendment that would bring the notoriously substandard aquarium chain SeaQuest into compliance with the law after violating the zoning code for over a year, PETA fired off a letter today to Mayor Jazzmin Cobble and the city council, urging them to reject the measure.

The group points out that SeaQuest failed to obtain the required exemption to the zoning ordinance and apparently negotiated for permission to open with the newly imprisoned former mayor Jason Lary, who didn’t even have the legal authority to give zoning approval. Months ahead of the November 2021 opening, PETA sent warnings to officials that the SeaQuest location would violate the zoning code. Allowing the opening to proceed and now glossing over these dodgy beginnings by changing the law sends the message that Stonecrest continues to be a safe haven for scofflaws and shady backroom deals.

“Every law-abiding citizen and everyone who cares about animals is up in arms that SeaQuest, which should never have been able to open in the first place, is pushing the city to change the law in order to save this seedy petting zoo,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on local officials to block this corrupt effort and help the animals still trapped at SeaQuest by shutting it down.”

SeaQuest’s litany of scandals across the U.S. includes animal deaths, over 50 federal Animal Welfare Act citations in just five years, and now a complaint from PETA to the Federal Trade Commission over the chain’s growing number of injuries to guests and staff. In light of the complaint, PETA has asked the city council to include an additional condition that prohibits dangerous public contact with wild animals, if it insists on passing the measure. PETA also notes that SeaQuest is a national chain familiar with zoning laws. The company previously had to scrap plans to build a facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after PETA sued the city and SeaQuest for attempting to open in a shopping mall where animal exhibitions were not allowed.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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